Category Archives: Rants

Stuck in my head!

Posted on October 27, 2008 by

OK, so last Saturday I was traveling (far too early in the morning) to UNB Fredericton to do some testing for the federal government recruitment program. On the way, I was doing my usual weekend morning thing – listening to “Weekend Mornings” with Stan Carew on CBC, minding my own business, when someone called in to request that Stan play a song called “Why don’t women like me?” by George Formby…

Well, the only thing I can do is let you experience this for yourself… Picture me sitting through 5 1/2 hours of testing with this song stuck in my head…

Hope you don’t have it stuck in your head as long as I have!!! 🙂

For the super-nerds out there like me, here are the lyrics:

WHY DON’T WOMEN LIKE ME
(Formby)

George Formby – 1933
Clinton Ford – 1966

Now, I know I’m not handsome
No good looks or wealth
But the girls I chase say my plain face
Will compromise their health
Now, I know fellahs worse than me
Bow-legged and boss-eyed
Walking out with lovely women
Clinging to their side

Now, if women like them like men like those
Why don’t women like me
Look at Empress Josephine
The most attractive woman that ever was seen
Yet Napoleon, short and fat
Captivates a lovely looking girl like that
Now, if women like them like men like those
Why don’t women like me, hey-hey
Why don’t women like me

Last night I went out walking
My intentions were to click
But the sights I saw while walking out
They nearly made me sick
I saw a lot of lovely girls
Attractive little dears
Arm in arm with ugly men
With cauliflower ears

Well, if women like them like men like those
Why don’t women like me
What can the attraction be
That’s the thing that always starts to worry me
Although I haven’t got a bean
I’ve got a lot of things the girls have never seen
Well, if women like them like men like those
Why don’t women like me, hey-hey
Why don’t women like me

Now, I went on my holidays
Down to the gay seaside
I saw a lot of things there
Being hidden by the tide
The way the women jumped around
The men there in the sea
Made me think that there
Is still a good chance left for me

‘Cause if women like them like men like those
Why don’t women like me
Of all the shapes and sizes there
I’ve got a chance of clicking yet, I do declare
Oh, I don’t want to be a nark
I saw a lot of things below the water mark
Well, if women like them like men like those
Why don’t women like me, hey-hey
Why don’t women like me

Well, if women like them like men like those
Why don’t women like me
Take Lord Nelson with one limb
Lady William Hamilton, she fell for him
With one eye and one arm gone west
She ran like the devil and she grabbed the rest
Well, if women like them like men like those
Why don’t women like me, hey-hey
Why don’t women like me

(Transcribed from the Clinton Ford recording
by Mel Priddle – September 2005)

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Poll Results, the horse race tightens even more…

Posted on October 8, 2008 by

This horse race is continuing to get even closer…

Canadian Press/Harris-Decima
CON 31
LIB 27
NDP 20
GRN 12
BQ 8

CPAC-Nanos Daily Election Tracking (ending October 7)
CON 33
LIB 29
NDP 20
BQ 11
GRN 7

Laurier Institute predicts the following seat distribution in Parliament (308 seats)
CON 142
LIB 85
BQ 49
NDP 31
IND 1
GRN 0

Hall & Knowlton Seat Predictor (based on results above)
CON 111
LIB 101
BQ 53
NDP 42
IND 1
GRN 0

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Latest Election Poll results

Posted on October 7, 2008 by

As the election starts to come down to the wire, it appears the Conservative hopes for a majority are fading fast. The funny part is that if they keep dropping in the polls, they may end up in almost the same scenario – or worse, with a smaller minority – than they started with when they called this unnecessary election.

Personally, I like minority governments. They are much more reflective of our society as a whole and they force politicians to negotiate and work together for the common good. I know, that’s crazy talk, but I’m an idealist who would rather see non-partisan politics than watch them act like absolute idiots to capture a 30 second media spot during question period. Some of the best legislation ever passed in this country came during minority parliaments (medicare, social assistance, employment insurance, just to name a few).

The Conservatives are releasing their very late official platform today, likely in the hopes of changing their fortunes. That may change things a bit for them, since they have been gliding since this whole thing started. Although to be honest, I suspect the Conservative war room staffers are coming up with some even nastier, Mulroney-era style goon squad attack ads to try and knock Stephane Dion, Gilles Duceppe and Jack Layton down a few pegs. Maybe they’ll revive the pooping puffin, that was classy… They could make it strafe the three of them together… I don’t care whether someone is a politician or a street cleaner, it really says a lot to me about their integrity, ethics and credibility when the only way they can look good is to lower themselves to the level of trying to make others look worse.

So anyway, here’s looking at some of the latest poll results…

CPAC-Nanos Daily Election Tracking (ending October 5)
Nik Nanos was the most accurate pollster in the last election, so I will quote him first:

CON 34
LIB 29
NDP 20
BQ 11
GRN 6

Canadian Press-Harris-Decima – CBC Poll – Oct 6, 2008

CON 32
LIB 25
NDP 21
GRN 12
BQ 8

The Laurier Institute uses poll results from the various ridings to predict seat distributions after an election. So, from a 308 seat Parliament, the results would look something like this:

CON 149
LIB 80
BQ 48
NDP 30
IND 1
GRN 0

I’ll quote CTV Polltracker

In the 2006 election, 15 million Canadians cast votes, but the difference between a Conservative minority win and a Liberal minority win was only 15,000 votes in a dozen key ridings across the country. That means 0.001% of the population made the difference and overthrew the government.

What is a really sad state of affairs is when we live in a supposed “democracy”, but if you look at the results above, a party like the Greens can garner anywhere from 10% – 12% of the popular vote and get no seats, while a regional protest party like the Bloc Quebecois garners only 8% – 10% of the popular vote and ends up with nearly 50 seats. And they wonder why voter apathy is growing? If that isn’t evidence that the system needs to be overhauled to become a truer representation of popular vote results, I don’t know what is.

So, what does this mean? More of the same if things stay like this. Really, if this financial crisis is as doom and gloomy as predicted, it isn’t a good time to be forming a new government anyway, since whoever wins will bear the brunt of voter anger for being the government that “presided over the lost riches” and will be turfed in the next election as a result. Funny thing politics!

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Conservative MPs speaking on fixed-date elections

Posted on September 14, 2008 by

A friend of a friend sent me this. He understood how I felt about a government calling an election early, despite having been the same government that implemented fixed-date election laws.

Source: Globe and Mail / Parliamentary records

 

Carol Skelton: I think that common sense is having an election every four years and not on the whim and call of the prime minister.

(Sept. 19, 2006)

 

Peter Van Loan: As I indicated, we have passed Bill C-16 on fixed election dates through the House of Commons. Never again will the government of the day be able to play around with the date of an election for its own crass political motives.

(Feb. 12, 2007)

 

Barry Devolin: This initiative would ensure that elections occurred once every four years and not just on the whim of a prime minister who might choose to call an election on the basis of whether or not his or her party was high in the polls.

(April 30, 2007)

 

Tom Lukiwski: We have seen, for an example, very important democratic reform initiatives such as fixed election dates which is Bill C-16. It passed and has come into force. It states that the third Monday of October 2009 will be the date for the next general election unless of course by some strange occurrence the combined opposition determines that it wants to have an election before that date. That was the first initiative that we brought in to try to ensure Canadians that there would be some consistency and regularity in the timing of federal elections. Far too often we saw political parties in power manipulate the voting system to their advantage. In other words, we saw parties in previous years take a look at the polling numbers and if they determined that it would be to their advantage to have an election earlier rather than later, because the polls happened to be advantageous for them, they would call an election at that time.

(June 18, 2007)

 

Dean Del Mastro: I think we recognize that the bill is about levelling the playing field for all parties in the House, not to give the government an advantage to call a snap election when perhaps another party is not ready. It would allow for a better debate on policy and on principle so that all parties could go into an election prepared and our voters could make the best decisions.

(Nov. 6, 2006)

 

Chuck Strahl: Fixed election dates are important and not only in other countries. My home province of British Columbia has a fixed election date. We have already had the first election. No one lit his or her hair on fire and it was not the end of the British parliamentary system. There was no chaos in the street. It was, however, something that all parties could plan on, that the population could work around and municipalities could tell what was coming. All in all, it worked very well.

(Nov. 6, 2006)

 

Scott Reid: The increased electoral fairness through Bill C-16 … will ensure that elections occur once every four years, not when the prime minister chooses to call them based upon whether his or her party is high in the polls. That was a terrible wrong. It was abused by the previous government repeatedly. This initiative will ensure that it is not abused again.

(Feb. 19, 2007)

 

Jay Hill: Fixed election dates in Canada is a democratic reform I have unwaveringly and vocally supported since I entered political life some 18 years ago … In 1997, Jean Chrétien sent Canadians back to the polls early despite the flood crisis in Manitoba, which of course, Mr. Speaker, you are very well aware of. In 2000, for the second time, he called another early election to take advantage of favourable polls. Three and a half years after that, in 2004, his successor, the member for LaSalle—Émard, called another early election when Parliament began to unearth Liberal scandal in its inquiry into the sponsorship issue. This is a perfect example of why Canada needs fixed election dates. This kind of manipulation unnecessarily derails important government and parliamentary business and gives rise to cynicism among voters.

(Sept. 18, 2006)

 

Gerald Keddy: We have an opportunity to take one of the primary tools that past prime ministers in the country have used like a club. They have gone to the people before their five years were up and every political party has suffered from that. I think the Parliament of Canada has suffered from it. … This is the first Prime Minister who is willing to give up that huge tool in his tool chest … This will level the playing field, it will give democracy more of an opportunity to work and it will be a good thing for the public of Canada.

(Sept. 18, 2006)

 

Russ Hiebert: Federal election dates would no longer be chosen with the advantage they may provide to the governing party. Every party would have the same opportunities. The reverse is also true. Not only are snap elections out, no longer will governments that have passed their “best before” date and face certain defeat at the polls be able to drag out their terms … It provides fairness. No longer will the governing party be allowed to manipulate the process. It provides transparency and predictability. Canadians will benefit from knowing exactly when these fixed elections will occur so they can plan their lives and the businesses around it. It improves governance by removing power from the prime minister’s office and devolving it to the people, as it should be.

(Sept. 19, 2006)

 

Rob Nicholson: What we have is a situation where the prime minister is able to choose the date of the general election, not based necessarily on what is in the best interests of the country, but what is in the best interests of his or her political party. Bill C-16 would address this problem and would produce a number of other benefits. … It is only fair that each party would have equal time to prepare for the next election and to know when it would be. Another key advantage of fixed date elections is transparency. Rather than decisions about election dates being made behind closed doors, general election dates would be set in advance.

(Nov. 6, 2006)

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Don’t worry about a "Carbon Tax"

Posted on September 11, 2008 by

For those who worry about a “Carbon Tax” scaring the Irvings away from more investment in New Brunswick, you can stop now. The Irvings are staunch Liberals, they know how the proposed carbon tax will work, and they will continue to make profits even after it comes into force (it will come into force someday, whether in its current incarnation or something like it down the road, eventually there will be no choice!).

The Irvings have publicly stated they want to use the newest, greenest technology on the planet in their new refinery. They also know that by doing so under a federal “green” plan, they will pay lower corporate taxes on their profits, receive tax breaks for purchasing their “green” capital equipment, and reap the rewards of other incentives that will help them in improving efficiency and make it neutral or potentially even beneficial for them.

Anyone who uses the “Irvings will move their refinery to Maine” ploy against a “green shift”, whether in the form of the current Liberal plan or one of the other parties that actually has a plan to try to correct our climate change problems, is simply using it as a fear tactic to try and sway voters toward voting for the Conservative party, a group whose members barely know how to spell environment let alone save it.

No matter which party you support, make sure they have a comprehensive plan for dealing with emissions. The rest of the world is moving that way and we will face tariffs and penalties on all our goods if we fail to move down that road. There is more to treasure in this world than a few extra dollars out of your pocket to pay for gas.

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Pancakes with Stephane Dion

Posted on September 11, 2008 by

I have to start out by saying that I am not a card-carrying member of the Liberal party (or any political party!). I vote with my conscience for the candidate and party I think is right at the time. Call me a “Pragmatic New Democrat”, I think left but realize Canada and its diverse population and geography needs a more centralist style of government to really work, so I tend to vote left-of-centre.

Now, on with my story!

So Nadine and I went to a breakfast with Stephane Dion, the leader of the Liberal party, this morning. Here is a link to the story:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canadavotes/story/2008/09/11/leaders-breakfast.html

I will start off by saying that Stephane Dion is MUCH more dynamic in person than on the TV sound bites. Unfortunately, like many very intelligent people throughout history, Stephane Dion and his plan are probably ahead of their time for the “masses” to accept, simply because it will cost a few dollars to fill up their gas tanks today. Why fix a problem that we can put off until tomorrow??? They won’t be ready to give up the small amount of beer money today and instead will wait until the polar bears are treading water and the flood waters hit critical, at which time it will cost much, much more than the few dollars Stephane Dion is proposing.

Let’s face it, Stephen Harper would be easy pickings in an old-fashioned, pork-barrelled election after the mess he has made of things so far, so no matter what anyone says about Stephane Dion not having a backbone, he has taken a high road seldom seen in politics. Rather than simply promising everyone anything they ask for and pandering to easy votes, he is willing to propose a policy that is good for our country and the future of the planet, even though he knows it will likely be at the expense of his own political future. THAT is the sign of a TRUE leader!

OK, I’m off my soapbox now. Here are a couple of pictures I grabbed with my phone! 🙂

Premier Shawn Graham speaking with Stephane Dion beside him.

StephaneDion04

Stephane Dion speaking about his “Green Shift” and how it will actually benefit the local economy. I think he needs to get that message out fast if he wants to win this election. Too bad, we need action now, not 20 years from now.

StephaneDion01

(Pictures captured by my Blackberry, so quality is poor)

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You Think English is Easy???

Posted on August 19, 2008 by

A friend sent me this in an email, I couldn’t help but share! Reminds me of a Linguistics course I took in university during which we laughed at the silliness of some of the irregular verbs…

Can you read these right the first time?

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

 

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language!

There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese?

One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why haven’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. PS. – Why doesn’t “Buick” rhyme with “quick”?

Lovers of the English language might enjoy this . There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is “UP.” It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has special meanings. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special. And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry UP. One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so……… Time to shut UP!

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My first visit to the new Indigo in Saint John

Posted on August 2, 2008 by

OK, because of a week-long vacation to Prince Edward Island (posts and photos coming soon!), I was unable to crash the doors at Indigo the first minute it opened last week, so I just made it there today to visit. I have been saving gift cards for many months now until the store opened, and today I was going to spend them!

Having traveled extensively, Indigo is no stranger to me, nor are Chapters, Barnes and Noble, City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, and a few other large bookstores, so I knew what to expect. I also know that Indigo stores are not exactly like the Chapters stores. The ones I had visited were more glitz and glamour and less bookstore. But I was still a bit giddy that our little backwater town had finally managed to convince someone to bring in a chain book store.

So, how was my experience? Overall, pretty good, but there are some definite issues.

First, I was pleased with the selection. They had new releases, not-so-new releases, and a good variety of vintage books. I picked up several books that have been in print for years and was happy to note they had multiple copies.

Second, as a father, I was pleased to see the large children’s section. That particular zone is likely to keep me coming back more often than the entire rest of the store, if for no other reason than I can bring the kids there for a few hours to look around and still fulfill my own reading needs.

Third, they already had a few bargain bins set up, but I suspect it will be some time before the bargain bins start to fill up with mounds of unsold inventory. That is when the real treasures can be found and I have been known to pass entire afternoons looking for that one diamond in the pile of fluff!

Fourth, they have lots of areas for accessories and such, like book covers, lights, bookmarks, and an entire section devoted to journals (although for some strange reason, the only Moleskine notebooks they carry are the daily and weekly planners, not a single notebook… some kind of ordering mistake??? One can only hope!)

That was the good news. Unfortunately, on every party it seems a little rain must fall.

Being a fan of Chapters, etc., I was extremely disappointed in this Indigo store because of the lack of chairs and spaces set aside for sitting while you browse books. Strategically placed chairs and window ledges at every Chapters and Barnes and Noble I have frequented made my visit more warm and rewarding and less like the big box experience it really is. Indigo would do well to add a few places to do just that. Otherwise, I may as well continue to use Google and Amazon to do my browsing and ordering while I sit in the comfort of my chair at home.

And for all those Starbuckians out there, many of you already know I am not a big fan of their $2.25 medium-sized house blend coffee. And on top of that, all those frilly drinks are just a way of making you pay extra for what I find is generally bad coffee. I do, on occasions like today, force myself to drink the stuff while I am devouring various titles in a bookstore, simply because of convenience. However, I maintain my ages-old argument that a hyped-up, overpriced cup of Starbucks coffee has nothing on a good cup of (cheaper, fair trade) coffee from many better places, like Java Moose or the Red Whale Coffee Company.

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